REVIEW: Brightest Day #15

Posted by under *mixed, Comics |

DC Comics’ Brightest Day spent another issue focusing on a single character last week, with Martian Manhunter getting all of the attention this time. While the previous issue dedicated to Dead Man (with a special appearance by Bruce Wayne as Batman) advanced the plot of the series, that’s not necessarily true here. It was still a decent book, but we end up spending more time talking about Aqualad and Batman Beyond of all things.

If the content of Brightest Day can be interrupted by one digression after another, it only seems fair that our discussion of it follow the same course.

Spoilers ahead.

PTB: The cover this time around is interesting, but the image of Manhunter with a green ring doesn’t make a lot of sense even if it his from his fantasy. Would he even need a ring? I thought this guy was up near Superman level capabilities, plus shapeshifting.

KevinMLD: The ring makes you a member of the Green Lantern Corps and along with that it is their weapon of choice… Like a cop with a gun, taser, pepper spray, and night stick. Having existing superpowers would not preclude you from serving in the Corps if you were chosen. The current Green Lantern, Sodom Yat, is a Daxamite. Daxamites are pretty much Kryptonians who are allergic to lead rather than Kryptonite. Under a yellow sun, Sodom Yat basically has Superman’s powers. So there’s nothing here that actually doesn’t make sense except for the design of the Green Lantern emblem on the back of the Manhunter’s cape which looks ridiculous.

PTB: The text on the cover struck me too. Is that a reference the Alan Moore “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow” story?

KevinMLD: Yeah.  It’s a deliberate reference to Alan Moore’s “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow.” Neil Gaiman also wrote “Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader” after Morrison’s “Batman R.I.P.” I think this is a terrible idea. Similar to Death’s recent appearance in Action Comics inviting comparisons to Sandman #8, inviting comparisons to Moore’s last Superman story is foolish unless you’ve really produced something special. This issue isn’t in the same league as either of those stories. I wonder if the title helped sell extra copies though.

PTB: It’s hard to say if printing that title on the cover would bring anyone in at this point, but it may have kept some people around after the Batman appearance last issue.

The art in this is issue is solid again, but a little less consistent than normal. I can’t help but notice the list of eight inkers. I don’t think this is normal for the book and the separation from the ordinary to extraordinary pages may have been a little greater.

KevinMLD: Agreed. There are some great pages and some less than stellar pages. I think the number of inkers just shows how difficult it must be to produce a book like this on a bi-weekly schedule. And anyone who wonders what an inker brings to the table should look through a book like this to appreciate the differences in quality that can result from bad inks. I would suspect, however, that at least some of the quality issues were caused by the work being rushed to meet an impossible deadline, but that’s just a guess.

PTB: The slaughter of the fake Justice League was definitely creepy. The pearl bullets used to kill Batman being particularly twisted.

I know it’s D’kay screwing with Manhunter’s mind, but why nearly kill Superman with the Kryptonite mask, heal him in the sun, only to stab him to death?

KevinMLD: I just wrote it off as the Manhunter sensing something was wrong and trying to fight off the stupidity of the whole fantasy, but not succeeding until he finally breaks from her control.

PTB: That makes sense, but I would have liked to have seen more of that struggle. The Martian symbols for “love” and “hate” look a lot like the Subunit logo. Apparently, I turned into a Martian.

KevinMLD: I can kind of see that.

PTB: I hate to say it, but the only way this issue makes sense is for Manhunter to be bad, at least for a little while. While it was well written, in the context of the larger story of Brightest Day it just feels like so much filler.

KevinMLD: I don’t believe it requires the Manhunter to be bad, just struggling to right himself from the D’Kay controlled fantasy. But it definitely feels like filler.

PTB: There’s also a chance she was using Manhunter’s memories to find weaknesses among the JLA’s heaviest hitters, but that isn’t really even hinted at.

Time to tap into your “DCness” as we reach the end of the book, Conogorilla and Starman?

KevinMLD: They are current members of the worst Justice League lineup in the history of history. I’m not really sure why DC even bothers to publish the book. There must be just enough suckers out there who are afraid to drop the book and break up a run in their collection, because it’s terrible. Or to be fair, it was terrible a few months ago when I finally dropped it. You’d think I’d be a huge fan of a JLA lead by Dick Grayson… But no sir, I am not.

PTB: That says a lot. They’ve done terrible things to one of your favorite characters in recent years. Making him hang out with Congorilla and Starman clearly crosses the line.

The last page with Firestorm promises some craziness, but I was a little amused that after his dramatic entrance we’re treated to “Next: The Origin of Aqualad!” at the bottom of the page. Guess we’ll find out about that Firestorm business later then…

KevinMLD: Yeah the organization of this book is a mess. I can’t imagine how terrible it’s going to read as a series of trades.

As for Aqualad, he made his debut in costume over the Thanksgiving holiday not in a comic book, but rather on the premiere of the new Young Justice series on Cartoon Network. The series launched with a one hour episode that basically introduces the core team of Robin (Dick Grayson dressed like Tim Drake), Kid Flash (Wally West), Superboy and the new Aqualad who reportedly will lead the team.

Aqualad looks like he’ll be wielding some interesting weapons that are almost whips made of water that are incorporated into his costume, but way less lame than that sounds. Personality-wise he seemed reluctant to disobey Aquaman whom he characterized as not just his mentor but his king. It will be interesting to see if a similar relationship develops in the comics.

It’ll also be interesting to see if they can pull off the Aqualad as leader angle because Robin seems to naturally take over any series he’s ever been a part of (see Teen Titans vol. 1, New Teen Titans, Young Justice, the current Teen Titans when he was on the team, the Teen Titans TV series). It hasn’t even mattered what version of Robin we’re talking about. Look for Damian to run the current Teen Titans in less than two years.

I think the coolest relationship on Young Justice will be the developing one between Superboy and a Superman, who is not particularly happy about having been cloned. Superman seems generally freaked out by the whole thing. This tension is really compelling.

The episode featured significant appearances by the entire Justice League, Project Cadmus, Mr. Freeze and Blockbuster. It looks like Batman, Red Tornado, Black Canary, and Miss Martian will be regulars on the series and I suspect we’ll also be seeing a lot more of Superman at some point. It was really an amazing launch and seeing how they are promising appearances by 150 DC characters during the first season, I think we’re in for something special.

PTB: Sounds like you really enjoyed the show. I was glad to hear that Peter David was involved with some of the episodes coming up. I don’t read a lot of DC, but I did check out his Young Justice series when it first launched years ago.

At the end of the book, I couldn’t help but notice a beautifully drawn ad for a new Batman Beyond ongoing series. Is this something that will be set in his alternate future from the animated series? I know he was involved during one of the recent Crises, but I’m interested to know how this fits into the larger DCU and what your thoughts on it are.

KevinMLD: This series is launching out of the aftermath of a recent six issue limited series. I read it. It was ok. It’s written by a guy named Adam Beechen who wrote some controversial stories involving the Cassandra Cain Batgirl. I think he’s a fine writer, but nothing special.

This series seems to fit in existing Batman Beyond continuity between the Return of the Joker film and his Justice League Unlimited appearances. As for where it fits in DCU continuity who knows. Is it our future? Morrison wrote him confusingly into Batman #700. In Countdown, the Batman Beyond world was revealed to be an in-continuity alternate Earth. Mostly I think this is a book that will have amazing cover art, but that can safely be ignored by everyone except the biggest Batman Beyond fans. Maybe Beechen will prove me wrong though.

PTB: Our future? Aren’t we on Earth: Purple?

I’m not familiar with Beechen’s work, and although I really enjoyed the Batman Beyond animated series I don’t think this is something I’d pick up. DC seems to have done some fun things bringing characters created in other media into their universe with Harley Quinn, Chloe Sullivan and technically the new Aqualad. Terry McGinnis from Batman Beyond is a character that would cause no end of trouble in trying to integrate him. I am glad to hear the new series is in continuity with all of the animated stuff though.

Read our thoughts on:
Brightest Day #14 / Brightest Day #16

More on the series can be found at our Brightest Day hub.

Related Posts with Thumbnails